The latest rugby evening headlines on Saturday, March 5.
Dan Biggar admits future is unclear
Wales captain Dan Biggar has revealed he has no firm plans for when his Northampton Saints contract expires next year.
The 32-year-old former Osprey joined the East Midlands club in the summer of 2018 and is a pivotal figure in both his club and international environments.
But Biggar, who featured in Saturday’s 35-30 defeat to Gloucester, knows he will have to be looking ahead to what is next in the not too distant future.
“I think over the summer we’ll probably sit down and have some conversations and think what we want to do as family,” he told Rugby Journal.
“It’s not like I’m a young guy who’s got no commitments anymore, now it’s the other way around, your family decide for you.
“I’ve got another year left, and I absolutely love it in Northampton and owe them a huge, huge amount, because they’ve invested a lot in me on the field and I feel like I’ve grown as a person and as a player here.
“I honestly don’t know what I’m what I’m going do. But I’m also really relaxed about it.
“I want to just see where we’re at in a year’s time and go from there.”
He added: “We need to stop talking about lots of potential in the squad and growth and we need to start delivering.”
Northampton Saints are currently eighth in the Gallagher Premiership table out of 13.
Read the full interview in the new issue of Rugby Journal – which also features Wales star Jasmine Joyce. It is available to order via therugbyjournal.com/subscribe
Shaun Edwards insists France have underdog mentality
Shaun Edwards insists France will head for Cardiff with “an underdogs mentality” despite being on course for the Grand Slam having won their first three Six Nations matches.
Les Bleus have already beaten Italy, Ireland and Scotland, scoring 13 tries in the process.
In contrast, Wales have suffered defeats to the Irish and England, with a victory over the Scots their solitary success.
However, French defense coach Edwards, who spent 11 years as part of the Welsh set-up, is taking nothing for granted as he prepares to return to the Principality Stadium.
“For me, the champions are always the team to beat,” he told the BBC’s ScrumV podcast.
“Wales are the current champions and we are playing them in their home back yard.
“In our minds, we are going in with an underdogs mentality.
“We need that hunger of a challenger. We have to show Wales respect. They have been the most successful team over the last 10 years, having won four Six Nations in a period when we haven’t won anything.
“So we are going there with total respect for the Welsh team, but also with an inner drive and ambition to achieve a goal which has evaded the French team over the last 12 years.
“We have to start winning trophies, that’s the big thing.
“You can’t become a great team until you’ve won a certain amount of trophies.
“France haven’t won a trophy for 12 years.”
Giving his thoughts on Wales’ 23-19 defeat to England in the last round, he said: “For one team to score three tries to one and lose is not nice.
“Is it something wrong with the game? Do we need to go to two points for a penalty? I don’t know.
“But the aim of playing rugby is to score tries and Wales were pretty unfortunate not to win having scored three, with the other team scoring one.”
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Leinster back on top after nine-try demolition of Benetton
Leinster reclaimed top spot in the United Rugby Championship with a 61-17 thrashing of Benetton in Treviso.
Ulster’s big win against Cardiff on Friday night saw them edge ahead of Leo Cullen’s men in the overall table but the Dubliners ran in nine tries to claw their way back to the summit with a four-point margin.
Max Deegan, Sean Cronin, Jordan Larmour and Ross Byrne earned Leinster a bonus point by half-time, with a single penalty from Rhyno Smith the only response Benetton could muster before the interval.
The hosts did touch down twice in the second half but Cronin’s second and two tries each for James Tracy and Jimmy O’Brien saw Leinster to a comfortable victory, with Byrne also kicking 14 points.
Wales Women U18s squad in first camp
Wales Women age-grade lead Liza Burgess is heading up the first of six Wales U18s training camps this weekend with a 45-player squad.
It follows a program of WRU skills development centers and a regional performance program which culminated in two rounds of matches.
A reduced Wales Women U18s squad is expected to compete against other Six Nations teams later in the spring, while a Wales Women U20s set-up is also being reintroduced.
Former Wales captain Burgess, who is head coach of the U18 side and assisted by Catrina Nicholas-McLaughlin, Oli Wilson, Marc Breeze and Wales captain Siwan Lillicrap, said: “The build-up to this stage of the season has been brilliant.
“Firstly, the skills development centers run throughout the autumn, provided a perfect opportunity for players to develop and put their hands up for regional selection. The regional program was an invaluable step-up from the new year and the regions were outstanding in terms of the buy-in of the regional staff, coaches and especially the players themselves.
“The players were given a real taste of a performance program in terms of quality coaching and conditioning work along with an introduction to other aspects of an elite environment such as analysis, nutrition and lifestyle choices. We were all impressed with the quality of rugby we saw from all regions both in training and at the Ystrad Mynach and Merthyr regional festivals and we just can’t wait to work with these young players and give them the tools they need to develop and perform, both at U18 level and beyond. “
Wales U18 training squad – forwards: Cagla Buyukertas (Scarlets), Catrin Stewart (RGC), Chelsea Chesters (Scarlets), Chloe Thomas Bradley (Dragons), Dali Hopkins (Ospreys), Erin Jones (RGC), Fern Cumine (Cardiff), Georgia Morgan (Cardiff), Gwennan Hopkins (Cardiff), Hannah Perry (Ospreys), Izabel Wing (Cardiff), Jess Rogers (Ospreys), Kaitlyn Prosser (Ospreys), Katy Hudd (Cardiff), Lowri Pritchard (Scarlets), Lowri Williams (RGC), Lucy Isaac (Dragons), Maisie Davies (Scarlets), Mali Edwards (RGC), Mia Davies (Cardiff), Milly Summer Webb-Greenslade (Scarlets), Molly Rossiter (Scarlets), Molly Wakely (Dragons), Nia Powell (Cardiff).
Backs: Bronwen Griffin (Scarlets), Cadi Williams (Scarlets), Carys Hughes (Scarlets), Gabby Healan (Cardiff), Grace Bellamy (Cardiff), Jenna De Vera (Scarlets), Katie Bevans (Dragons), Kelsie Webster (RGC) , Lauren Stevens (Dragons), Leanna Elizabeth Maybank (Dragons), Lowri Elias (Scarlets), Mollie Wilkinson (Wales Exiles), Molly Powell (Dragons), Molly Reardon (Cardiff), Mya Dixon (Cardiff), Natalia Barnes (Dragons) , Nel Metcalfe (RGC), Nell Powell (Cardiff), Rachel Thomas-Evans (Cardiff), Savannah Picton-Powell (Dragons), Sian Jones (RGC).
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